Scottish election 2021: The Geen Party's manifesto commitments
Here are some of the party's key manifesto commitments:
- Recruit 5,500 more permanent teachers.
- Reduce class sizes to a maximum of 20.
- Lower teachers’ class-contact time to 20 hours per week.
- Review the role of indicators and measures within Curriculum for Excellence (CfE), "with a view towards removing those which do not contribute to the delivery of quality education".
- End P1-S3 Scottish National Standardised Assessments (SNSAs), "which result in unnecessary stress and pressure for pupils and staff", and bring back the Scottish Survey of Literacy and Numeracy (SSLN) to monitor national performance.
- Raise the school starting age to 7 and introduce a kindergarten stage for children aged 3-6.
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- End the routine use of homework in primary schools.
- Give all pupils equal access to Highers by "investing in teachers and targeted interventions to support schools to introduce Higher courses they did not previously offer".
- Restructure National 5s to ensure adequate teaching time.
- Introduce a National 5 on natural history, drawing on the recently developed natural history GCSE course.
Join co-leaders Patrick Harvie and Lorna Slater as we launch our manifesto for the 2021 Scottish Parliament election. https://t.co/dUxwj4fCnV— Scottish Greens (@scottishgreens) April 14, 2021
- Reduce the role of exams and "expand continuous assessment of coursework".
- Ensure that schools have resources to support the creation of independent pupil unions, "so that young people can have their voices heard in education".
- Ensure counselling is available to all pupils, "by establishing a right to access school-based counselling provided by qualified practitioners".
- Recruit 2,500 more additional support needs teachers over the next parliament, halving the additional support needs (ASN) teacher-to-pupil ratio.
- Make ASN teaching a promoted post to attract more teachers into the profession.
- Ensure additional needs are covered in initial teacher education and in qualified teachers' professional learning, "equipping all teachers with the core skills required to support pupils with additional needs".
- Establish formal recognition of further education qualifications for additional needs assistants and establish an accreditation and registration system through the General Teaching Council for Scotland (GTCS).
- Support legislation to ensure that all young people with additional needs have access to adequate support as they transition from school to adulthood.
- Replace inspections with peer review and self-evaluation overseen by the Regional Improvement Collaboratives, ending the routine use of national inspections.
- "Immediately end the conflict of interest inherent in Education Scotland", by separating its curriculum development and inspection roles, establishing an independent inspectorate instead.
- Establish a process for curricular review; consult with teachers, pupils and other stakeholders to establish an appropriate cycle of regular curricular review, in line with international best practice.
- Replace the Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) board of management with "a new model which places emphasis on professional qualifications and relevant experience in education"; at least half of board members will be GTCS-registered teachers or lecturers and spaces will be reserved for union representatives, the Association of Headteachers and Deputes in Scotland (AHDS), Colleges Scotland, a member of the Scottish Youth Parliament, and a representative of parents and carers.
The party's education spokesperson, Ross Greer, said: "The Scottish Greens have stood with teachers and pupils throughout this pandemic. We forced the restoration of every grade unfairly lowered by the SQA last August, secured £45 million to recruit additional staff and delivered regular Covid testing for all school staff and senior pupils this spring.
"The education proposals in this manifesto reflect the close relationship the Greens have with teachers and their unions in particular. Our priorities are teachers' priorities, namely a reduction in workload, class sizes and contact time, a transformation in additional support needs services and a radical overhaul of Education Scotland and the SQA.
"We will raise the school starting age to 7 and introduce a play-based kindergarten stage. We will deliver an additional 5,500 permanent teaching posts and put those teachers currently on temporary contracts or unable to find work at the front of the queue for these new positions.
"That must only be the start, though. More teachers encumbered by the same administrative workloads and tick-box exercises would be no success story. That's why the Greens would scrap SNSAs, increase teachers' professional autonomy and replace the national inspections system with a peer-review process between teachers and schools.
"This is by far our boldest and most comprehensive offer for Scotland's education system and I am proud to put it forward today."